MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500 Edge Modestly Higher

By Anora M. Gaudiano and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Biotechs and health-care shares sell off

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U.S. stock-market indexes followed global equities higher on Monday as investors appeared to shrug off earlier worries about political uncertainty in Germany, returning their focus to corporate earnings and prospects for tax cuts.

Trading volumes are likely to gradually thin out this week, given the run-up to Thanksgiving Day on Thursday and an abbreviated session on Friday.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The S&P 500 was up 4 points, or 0.2%, at 2,583 with six of the 11 main indexes trading higher. Telecoms, industrials and financials were leading the gains, outweighing losses in health-care and energy shares.

The Nasdaq Composite added 7 points, or 0.1%, to 6,788. Gain on the Nasdaq were capped due to a selloff in biotechnology shares, which fell 0.9%.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 92 points, or 0.4%, to 23,450. Home Depot Inc(HD) and 3M Company (MMM) were leading the gains, up about 1.7%. Merck & Co (MRK) and General Electric Co.(GE) were the biggest losers, down 2.2% and 1.6% respectively.

Modest gains on Monday come after two consecutive weekly losses for the main indexes.

What are strategists saying?

"The consensus trade on Wall Street has been buying European equities versus U.S. equities, but that's on the condition that Europe is politically stable. When Merkel could not get her coalition, there was a short-lived flight to quality," said Diane Jaffee, senior portfolio manager at TCW.

Jaffee noted that with bond yields so low or negative in some cases, equities are still attractive for many investors.

"Earnings growth, especially revenue growth continues to support U.S. equities," Jaffee said.

See:This green-energy stock is getting whacked by tax-reform fears--here's how to play it (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-green-energy-stock-is-getting-whacked-by-tax-reform-fears-heres-how-to-play-it-2017-11-20)

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Cavium Inc.(CAVM) jumped 8% following news that Marvell Technology Group Ltd.(MRVL) has signed a deal to buy the fellow chip maker for about $6 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/caviums-stock-surges-after-marvells-buyout-bid-in-a-deal-valued-at-6-billion-2017-11-20). Marvell 's stock was roughly flat .

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s stock (BABA) gained 2% after the e-commerce giant said it would buy a 36% stake in Chinese big-box retailer Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (6808.HK) for $2.9 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alibaba-to-buy-29-billion-stake-in-chinese-hypermarket-chain-2017-11-20).

Shares of Delphi Automotive PLC(DLPH) rose 3.6% after analyst at Bank of America upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Cardinal Health Inc(CAH) shares dropped 2% after analysts at Morgan Stanley cut the stock to underweight from equal-weight.

What economic data are due?

The leading economic index surged (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-economy-stays-strong-leading-indicators-surge-in-october-2017-11-20)1.2% in October and suggested no letup in a steadily growing U.S. economy with the end of the year fast approaching.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Read:Fed speeches show readiness to raise rates next month, wariness about recession (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-speeches-show-readiness-to-raise-rates-next-month-and-a-wariness-about-next-recession-2017-11-17)

What are other assets doing?

The euro tumbled toward the $1.17 level (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-plummets-as-uncertainty-in-germany-rattles-markets-2017-11-19) early Monday after German governmental coalition talks broke down (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/merkels-future-in-doubt-as-german-coalition-negotiations-break-down-2017-11-19) on Sunday, keeping the country's government in limbo and casting doubt over Chancellor Angela Merkel's future as leader.

Read:Germany's Merkel would prefer new election over minority government (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/germanys-merkel-would-prefer-new-election-over-minority-government-2017-11-20)

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was higher, while the German DAX 30 index also gained after erasing morning losses (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-stage-recovery-in-wake-of-german-political-uncertainty-2017-11-20). In Asian trading hours, the Nikkei (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-slides-dragging-down-asian-stock-markets-2017-11-19) dropped 0.6% after the euro's slide pushed up the yen , considered a haven in times of economic and political uncertainty.

Oil futures fell about 1%, while gold prices dropped 1.5%, mostly thanks to stronger dollar.

The ICE U.S. Dollar index was up 0.4$ at 94.012.

Don't miss:The euro still 'can break higher'--analysts react to Germany's political uncertainty (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-euro-still-can-break-higher-analysts-react-to-germanys-political-uncertainty-2017-11-20)

Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 20, 2017 13:59 ET (18:59 GMT)